Today marks the last day in my current role at ServiceNow and thought it would be fitting to walk through the process I leveraged to make this decision. It required me to first define what it was that I wanted to do next. From there I was able to take advantage of some time speaking with leaders in the organization to determine the white space this new role might fill and finally went through the formal interview process for my new role. In a subsequent post, I will detail specifically what this new role does to help drive better value and success for our users.
I started this journey by sitting down and evaluating where I was in my career and where I wanted to take it next. I received very thoughtful advice from Chris Mahoney (my skip level manager) and Jeff Gibb (my direct manager and longtime friend) to think about what I was doing at retirement. I frequently use this same approach when talking to our users about how to get the most value from CMDB as well. You have to start with the end in mind and that will usually guide you to through the myriad choices you will be asked to consider. There was a secondary benefit due to the fact that if you know where you want to end up, you can quickly determine if an opportunity fits in the grand scheme. Will this new role move me closer or farther from that end state? Once I created that framework, it was time to attach my own analysis to the overall journey and start getting it down in writing.
If I started with the end in mind, what exactly was that end? In my case, the goal is to retire by shifting from day to day control over my multiple business interests and allow the institution to run itself. This will allow me to shift to more philanthropic efforts focused on returning the good fortunes I have received to the community that helped get me to where I am. Every decision I make needs to help drive towards that as I have essentially stated “At retirement, I will be an entrepreneur responsible for a self-sustaining organization focused on giving back to the community”
I realized a year ago that I needed to get some external validation that I was doing the right things to improve myself professionally and chose to leverage a coach to guide me. Having never used a business coach before, I didn’t know what to expect and found the process to be even more valuable than I had originally expected. I met with PJ Dunn based on recommendations I received on LinkedIn and after an initial meeting, we began by doing an assessment of strengths. Gallup has a program focused on identifying a model much like many of the other personality tests. This alone put me into a box, but with PJ’s help, I was able to remove some of the strict boundaries that I would have trapped myself in without his guidance. One of my favorite exercises was to create a mission statement. A personal mission statement. It was the first time I really looked at what I was doing day to day and what impact I expected to make in the community. The result of that is below and it’s worth noting the two emphasis words actively and guarantee. Actively really does mean that I want to lean into the process and not simply sit back passively and watch the world pass by. And guaranteeing success challenges me to really push myself to deliver on that promise.
[gtblockquote]“I actively seek to replace negativity and hate with hope and love. I share inspirational thought leadership built on the broad experiences from both my life and my career and provide that to friends, family, and clients to guarantee our mutual success.”[/gtblockquote]
We finished up with another fantastic exercise where we evaluated the weaknesses that can be associated with my strengths. This helped to provide a complete examination of who I was, and what opportunities I had for growth. It also helped me determine what type of position was likely a good fit as I began to explore options.
I didn’t see anyone in my organization doing what I wanted to be doing so I decided that I needed to craft a role that accommodated my strengths and allowed me to prosper in my organization. Those five key strengths were communication, easily creating relationships, adaptability, positivity, and motivating people to take action. The easiest way I found to apply those to a new role was to determine what was missing. So I reached out to leadership and began doing reverse interviews to determine what major projects they were working on and what gaps in staffing they had identified during that process. From that, I was able to determine if there were ways I could bring my strengths to help them fill those gaps. I talked to about 10 different leaders at different levels in the organization. Some were folks that I had a daily cadence with while some that I had never had a structured conversation with. It was one of the most enlightening processes I have gone through because each of these individuals looked at the business differently, but a common theme emerged from each of them that I was able to center on. That theme was Customer Success.
I took everything I had learned about myself and what I had learned about the organization and created a document. I have always tracked the “kudos” that I have gotten through my career and anytime I do something I think is worth noting. That was the foundation. I layered in my strength analysis and highlighted both my vision and mission and then set out to craft a role. That included a breakdown of my daily work in this new fictional role and being the organized person I am, broke it down into 6 themes that I could focus on. I then published that doc and effectively raised my hand by sending it back to each of the leaders I had spoken with. They needed to know that I was seeking a new role and they also needed to know what I wanted to do.
Almost immediately a number of those leaders reached out and began talking to me about positions they were looking to fill and because I had listened to all of the advice I had received, I was able to evaluate each opportunity against that end state I intend to get to and decide if it was a good fit. This marked an important shift in how I evaluated positions in my entire working life. Previously I would see a job become available and try to fit myself into that role because it paid better, had a better title, carried better prestige, or simply allowed me to stop doing what I was currently doing. That was the WRONG way to evaluate opportunities and now that I have this framework I will never revert to that process. Anything that presents itself as an opportunity for me can quickly be qualified as a fit or not by remembering where I am going and how I want to get there.
As I move on to my new role I’m fortunate I don’t have to say goodbye to my peers but instead get to shift to a new way to support them. I get to build stronger relationships with the leaders that helped me get to this point and most importantly I get to advocate on behalf of our users to drive that common theme of customer success. I sign off not with goodbye but fare well in the classic sense of being well. May you fare well and allow me to be your partner in that success.